General Question

Zen's avatar

Can one fall irrationally in love with someone online, sans knowing anything about them; having never met, spoken , or even exchanged photos and names?

Asked by Zen (7705 points ) April 14th, 2009

How can someone fall in love with an avatar (cartoon, joke, sign etc.); how much can you really love someone, if you don’t even know their name, what they look like, status, religion and history?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

29 Answers

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

It’s not love. It’s infatuation with a preconceived notion of a person based on minimal information.

Jeruba's avatar

Daloon has given some great answers to this recently. I found one of them here. I think there was at least one other in which he elaborated on the fantasy idea in a way that I thought was extremely insightful and persuasive. The question might have been about whether having an online relationship is cheating, but I can’t find it now.

YARNLADY's avatar

Irrational, yes. That explains it all.

augustlan's avatar

Why Zen, I am flattered. ;-)

In all seriousness, I don’t see how one could. Maybe a crush…

DesireeCassandra's avatar

I think it’s possible to be in love with the idea of who you think the person is, or who you want them to be. But not them.

asmonet's avatar

Falling in love, I guess not – for all the reasons listed above.
Having love for someone, yes.

I’ve become very fond of some Flutherites, I care very much about their lives.

qashqai's avatar

In the eleventh century it was the standard.
Trobadours instead of the internet.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

Perhaps crawling around inside another person’s head through their writing creates a form of intimacy that transcends physical presence…

cookieman's avatar

I agree that it would be an imagined relationship.

For example, I often imagine augustlan, bythebay, and asmonet as my own private Charlie’s Angels.

Mr_M's avatar

Reminds me of the play “M. Butterfly” where the man falls in love with someone via letters and that someone turns out to ALSO be a man. When he finds out, he’s STILL in love.

SuperMouse's avatar

@cprevite can I be Bosely?

I think it can happen in much the same way that people fall in irrational love with movie stars or rock stars. They feel like they are connected with them in a way that is beyond what anyone else could possibly imagine. They feel the person’s blogs, answers, or avatar were chosen just for them and are all speaking directly to them. Because they only know this person as a name or an avatar, they can fill in the rest with their own imagination and make this person into whoever they want or need them to be. Is it real love? Probably not. Is it filling a hole? Probably.

Mr_M's avatar

@SuperMouse, actually, the movie star scenario you describe is a mental illness.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Mr M, I’m not talking about it rising to the level of mental illness, stalking, etc. I’m talking about someone who is obsessed with Brad Pitt and has pictures all over their room, owns all of his movies, and can tell you every bit of trivia about his career. I know that it can get out of hand, but I think there are many people who are just plain obsessed but manage to keep from taking it to the next level. As I mentioned in the Celebrity Crush thread, I had it bad for Christopher Walken for a while in my 20’s. I never wrote the man a fan letter, tried to get his home number, or stalked him. I watched his movies and read interviews with him.

cookieman's avatar

@Mr_M: What about all the teen girls who claim to be “in love” with the Jonas Brothers (or the like)? Are they all mentally ill?

I would imagine there are degrees to celebrity obsession.

Mr_M's avatar

@cprevite, ther distinction is when you say:

“They feel the person’s blogs, answers, or avatar were chosen just for them and are all speaking directly to them.”

The people you describe (as you describe it) are not dealing with reality. They often become stalkers.

This is NOT the same as the teens in love with the Jonas Brothers.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Mr_M sometimes, but not necessarily often. When you think of all the celebrities out there in relation to the number of stalkings, it would follow that there are probably many, many more people who do nothing with these feelings except internalize them.

Bagardbilla's avatar

sigh… yes…
I’ll never look at a “world map” tattooed ass again the same…
—but I’ll always have fluther—

Mr_M's avatar

@SuperMouse, that aside, when a person thinks the celebrity is communicating with them, that person is no longer dealing with reality. Stalker or not, it’s a mental illness and NOT the same as the girls who love the Jonas Brothers. It’s VERY different

cookieman's avatar

@Mr_M: Well exactly. As I said, there are degrees to it.

But there are lots of teenage girls (for example) who display extreme emotions over certain celebrities. Think Beatles on Ed Sullivan. Crying hysterically, passing out, endless diary entries abut how their music “spoke right to me”.

Where is the line between obsession and mental illness?

Mr_M's avatar

No, it’s not the same. Those girls cry because they get excited. They are in AWE. That’s different. It happened with Elvis fans. Some people cry when they see the Pope. When push comes to shove, those girls will tell you the Beatles are NOT writing specifically for them. Those girls know it’s impossible for the Beatles to even have known them. When they hear the Beatles, they KNOW the song was not written REALLY with them in mind.

The mentally ill person really believes the song WAS for them or that the celebrity really WAS communicating with them. They’ll watch the celebrity on television and interpret WHATEVER the celebrity says as talking to them.

cookieman's avatar

@Mr_M: Yeah, I can see that.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

@The_Compassionate_Heretic
@YARNLADY

I’m late to the thread but the two of them summed up how I believe. I think it’s impossible to have feelings of love with nothing to go on but an avatar or in a forum like this one, by exchanged keystrokes in a thread.

asmonet's avatar

I’m an Angel? Freakin’ sweet!!

cookieman's avatar

with zing

asmonet's avatar

I’m so 70s badass. :D

cookieman's avatar

<<cue high hat and funk bass>>

Zen's avatar

@AlfredaPrufrock I really liked your answer. @all, thanks.

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